What you need to know to find the right words - Scott Livengood

Having Your Voice In All Situations

Article Published by: hr.com

Corinna Stoeffl Being in Awareness

What you need to know to find the right words

At one point or another, we all have thought: what would it take to have the right words right now? The situation is delicate. We want to show we care, and we can’t find the appropriate words. This is so frustrating for us and evokes all kinds of emotions and self-judgments. What can you do to change that?

Here are 5 suggestions that look at root causes of not having the right words and tools that allow you to find them.


How much do you judge yourself in that moment of frustration? How much might you be afraid that others will judge you when you do not find the right words? The next time you are in a frustrating situation, pay attention to your body. How does it feel? Is it relaxed and open or is it tense and contracted? In that contracted space you will have a hard time finding the right words. This last sentence contains one of the keywords that trigger judgment: right. Other words that show there is judgment present are correct, wrong, good, or bad.

My Favorite Tool: Light/Heavy

This tool not only helps you get out of judgment, it also helps you to know what is true for you and what isn’t. It is a quick and easy tool. Become present with your body. For starters, use a few statements you use often. Say one of them and feel how your body responds. If it is true for you, there will be a sense of lightness or expansiveness. If it is not true for you, there will be a sense of heaviness and contraction.

Now be aware that true for you and right are two different things. Right is a judgment we come to, either on a personal level or as a society we have decided it is so. That does not mean, though, that what is right is true for you and vice versa.

Ask a Question

Another, very effective tool is asking a question. We are entrained to operate from assumptions or conclusions, which does not allow for much creativity. Asking a question, on the other hand, opens the door to a multitude of possibilities. With regard to having your voice, the words may just ‘show up’. Here are some sample questions:

*What else is possible here?
*What can I be to have total ease with finding the words?
*What choice can I make to have ease with the situation?
*What do I know that I am pretending not to know?

These questions are designed to bring up a sensation in your body, not to provide you directly with an answer. When you ask questions like these, there will be a moment when a thought pops in and your body will have the same sensation it had when you asked. That thought is your “answer”.


In order to fit in, which is a high priority for most people, we often mimic others. We mimic not only physical traits like movement or speech patterns, but also what people think, what they believe, and how they feel. How much have you accepted that did not come from you, but from someone else? I would like to give you just one example: what does caring mean to you? Is that really true for you, or have you accepted how others define caring? What else could be that is actually caring for another person? Would you be willing to get clarity for yourself?

Being You

Being you is a complex subject. We have accepted so many expectations and projections from others that it is a journey of discovery. When you are Being You, there is one thing that sets you apart from others: You, the being, are congruent with your words and actions. You mean what you say. Others can sense that, and it is attractive. What if you ask of yourself to only speak what you truly mean. This will allow the words to come.

Using these tools, you will find your voice. Where do you go from here? In the beginning, it will feel uncomfortable since it is new for you. Would you be willing to trust yourself and say the words you found? Practice with people who know you and who you trust. There is a learning curve. And, there will be a point in time when you wonder how you ever did without having easy access to your voice.

About Scott Livengood

Scott Livengood is the owner and CEO of Dewey’s Bakery, Inc., a commercial wholesale bakery with a respected national brand of ultra premium cookies and crackers.

Previously, Scott worked at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for 27 years, starting as a trainee in 1977. He was appointed President of the company in 1992, then CEO and Chairman of the Board.

Scott has served on numerous boards including the Carter Center, the Calloway School of Business and the Babcock School of Management, Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County, and the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

He started a new business, StoryWork International, in 2016 with Richard Stone. The signature achievement to date is LivingStories, a story-based program for improved patient experiences and outcomes in partnership with Novant Health.